Author Topic: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).  (Read 2004 times)

Offline x4000

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Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« on: November 19, 2015, 09:45:02 PM »
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the feedback so far.  There's a number of things coming, but there had to be a lot of discussion amongst us internally about certain things and how best to proceed with them.

Definite problems that are being looked at are:
1. Ammo weapons being lame because of the way ammo is.
2. The stuff already fixed here: https://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Starward_Rogue:Early_Alpha_Release_Notes#Version_0.136
3. Some boss insanity.
4. Weight to shots (was already considering this, but on the fence).
5. Two different movement modes for the player, one of which is more SHMUP-like (basically like now, except slightly more precise even), and one of which is more mass-based.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what is in the works.

Thanks!
Chris
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 09:58:30 PM »
Hey Chris, you have mail ;)
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2015, 10:37:08 PM »
  • Where would be the best place to put thoughts about the alpha? Here, PM, Mantis, other?
  • You might want to check what people are meaning when they use weight in reference to shots. When I use it I mean that the shots lack physical essence, not that they cause impact momentum to the target.
  • The question of where the battles are taking place has been brought up, i.e., space, spaceship hangers, galactic trash heap, etc. Along with the suggestion of mixed space/air enemies and ground enemies. I'm guessing you were thinking spaceship hangers/internals. It seems that you could steal all of the enemy design and models from Bionic Dues and implement them as the ground forces here, and that would work rather well.
  • Any news/statements about the analogue controls?
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 10:46:45 PM »
A sub-forum is in order. 
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Misery

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2015, 11:49:44 PM »
  • You might want to check what people are meaning when they use weight in reference to shots. When I use it I mean that the shots lack physical essence, not that they cause impact momentum to the target.

It seems to have a number of different possible meanings, or multiple meanings at once.

This is how I'm interpreting it, and please feel free to give your own details as well:

1. Some physical impact, yes, but this would be very much determined by the attack itself.  A missile blast could maybe knock something back, but a minor "pew pew" maybe just vibrates it a bit (as in, visual effect only)... not strong enough to actually push anything back.  The player's ship would be unaffected (bad things result otherwise).   The interesting thing with this though, after having thought it through, is that some interesting gameplay elements could be added that take advantage of a mechanic of this type.  Could get creative with that.  Target ship size would possibly affect things as well.  Most bosses would be unmovable. 

2. Flash, flare, something that says hey, this thing just got BLASTED.  Right now, enemies just sorta give off a generic flash and a noise.  As opposed to giving off sparks or bursts of flame or, I dont know, crackling electrical shock effects.  Could be anything.  There isnt any of that right now, so the shots just sort of blink away and become damage numbers somewhere when they hit.

3. If something hits like a freight train, it should go THUD or something.  There's only like, sort of a vague popping noise right now.  Though, this bit is to be expected.  Currently it seems like MOST of the audio assets are not in/ready yet.

4. Maybe even some vague sparks or something for missed shots, that hit a wall?

5. Special weapons lack PRESENCE.  This one, actually, bugs me.  Right now, they fire the same projectiles as everything else.  They should be firing huge single bolts, or things more along the lines of some of the "particle" effects that have been seen in some of Arcen's other games.  Alot of those, particuarly in the Valley games, always looked pretty cool to me.  Visual effects only of course, but they just LOOKED satisfying.  There's also the issue here of the current versions, well, it's hard to tell IF they even fired at times.  That one actually can affect gameplay.



That sort of thing, that's how I've been interpreting this. 

Anyway, had a bit of conversation with Chris about this via email too, so we'll see just what happens with it.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2015, 09:18:08 AM »
Quote
5. Special weapons lack PRESENCE.  This one, actually, bugs me.  Right now, they fire the same projectiles as everything else.  They should be firing huge single bolts, or things more along the lines of some of the "particle" effects that have been seen in some of Arcen's other games.  Alot of those, particuarly in the Valley games, always looked pretty cool to me.  Visual effects only of course, but they just LOOKED satisfying.  There's also the issue here of the current versions, well, it's hard to tell IF they even fired at times.  That one actually can affect gameplay.

This seems to be the most glaring failure that I'm concerned by. When I pickup a special weapon I want to be excited by the anticipation of getting it. Then, after getting the weapon I want to enjoy using it. I've yet to feel like this once.  As much as I'm not someone obsessed by graphics, the visuals are important. The flamethrower, for example, well,  a flamethrower should not look like it currently does. There's no pizzazz about the particles. The current weapon system itself is also a little concerning as it's pretty mundane with no possibility of synergies. I could probably live without the synergies -- although this seems like a bit of wasted opportunity for a roguelike -- if the weapons were awesome, but again, they're completely meh. The whole weapons/power up area certainly needs a complete overhaul.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2015, 09:20:45 AM by Pepisolo »

Offline x4000

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2015, 09:29:38 AM »
Hey folks!

In no particular order:

1. New subforum for general feedback (as opposed to mantis-focused things): https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/board,117.0.html :)

2. Regarding the art things, I responded to that just a moment ago in the other thread about graphics, and notified our artist most directly involved in that part, so I won't reiterate that here (best to keep that in one place rather than have two split conversations).

3. No news on the controls/flight feel just yet.  I haven't had time to properly start on that.  I hope to do it today, though.  Bear in mind that my job also involves coordinating tons of other people, and I have to pay those people even if I don't give them something to do (or, alternatively, possible work time just gets missed if they're not on payroll, either way), so sometimes the order I do things in can be a bit screwy.  What seems like (and/or IS) the most important thing from a player standpoint has to be put off for something that seems "lesser" because I have to address that to not bottleneck some other staff or contractor.  That sort of thing consumed most of my afternoon yesterday.

4. When we're talking about the special weapons having bad graphics, and sound effects missing, and hit effects missing, and all that sort of thing... well, YEAH. ;)  I thought I pretty much said most of the sound effects were missing.  I guess I didn't mention that the effects for the special weapons were missing and that the little visual flairs that will come later are also missing from them, heh.  I agree, those things add a ton to a game.  On the flip side of the coin, if I can get you to enjoy the game heavily WITHOUT those things, then that's extra awesome.  Because then when those things get added in, we're left with a situation that is solid all the way down, versus just being "masked by the pretty" but actually iffy underneath.  I feel like a number of AAA games fumble specifically with this area.  Minus the cool animations, the controls for the Arkham games are slow and clunky.  But it isn't really criticized because the animations and whatnot are SO good.  Anyway, I digress.

5. When it comes to weapons and whatnot, that's something that Dayton I spent several hours discussing yesterday afternoon, and we'd both had some similar thoughts to you, Pepisolo.  Not about the graphics or sound, because we know that's super temp.  But about other aspects of them that just don't feel right regardless of whether or not the graphics and sound were put in nicely.  One of the big foci so far for me since yesterday has been figuring out that bit, so that Dayton can then continue working in that area under the new system, so to speak.
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Offline tombik

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2015, 09:44:46 AM »
If mass based movement and SEMUP movement will be specific for some ship types, that sounds good.

If it will be a setting, from which players can choose whatever they like, I think it is sign of a bad design. "We dont know which to implement, so we implemented both."

And of course, having two such modes will always be hard to balance when it comes to gameplay. To sum it up, I dont think having options will help in this case.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2015, 09:46:35 AM »
Quote
When we're talking about the special weapons having bad graphics, and sound effects missing, and hit effects missing, and all that sort of thing... well, YEAH. ;)  I thought I pretty much said most of the sound effects were missing.  I guess I didn't mention that the effects for the special weapons were missing and that the little visual flairs that will come later are also missing from them, heh.

Yeah, the sound effects I knew were placeholdery, but I wasn't sure about the graphics because it wasn't specifically mentioned that they were in need of a lot of work, although I should probably have assumed that this was the case. Good good.

Quote
When it comes to weapons and whatnot, that's something that Dayton I spent several hours discussing yesterday afternoon, and we'd both had some similar thoughts to you, Pepisolo.  Not about the graphics or sound, because we know that's super temp.  But about other aspects of them that just don't feel right regardless of whether or not the graphics and sound were put in nicely.

Glad to hear this! The current system definitely feels super lacklustre. I look forward to seeing the changes in this area.

Offline Misery

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2015, 09:56:33 AM »
If mass based movement and SEMUP movement will be specific for some ship types, that sounds good.

If it will be a setting, from which players can choose whatever they like, I think it is sign of a bad design. "We dont know which to implement, so we implemented both."

And of course, having two such modes will always be hard to balance when it comes to gameplay. To sum it up, I dont think having options will help in this case.

As I'd mentioned to Chris, partly because I'm doing so much of the enemy pattern design, the movement modes wont need seperate balancing.  Even on the bosses.   What'll matter wont be that, but'll be the player; this aspect is EXTREMELY subjective.  Think dpad VS analog in various games.  Alot of players use analog in games where it's available, and that's fine, but not everyone wants to do that, depending on the game.  Isaac, for instance, allows both.  Most players use the analog.... thus having that full 360 degree movement.... but there are some such as myself that use the dpad, because it's what works for us.  Neither side is actually at a disadvantage VS the other, and the game isnt actually balanced towards either.  Despite that they're very different control schemes, with one being ONLY 8 possible directions of movement.

Heck, I'd criticized Nuclear Throne for NOT having this option.  It always drove me crazy and was just one of the many things that eventually killed the game off completely for me.  I grew tired of tolerating that blasted control scheme after awhile.

And even in THIS game, I'm not using the analog sticks.... either of them.  I've got 8-way movement, and 8 way firing, and that's it.  And dagnabit, that's the way I like it.  Were I to use the analog, my performance would suffer very heavily.  But the game allows this option for me to use the dpad and face buttons for movement and firing, so I cannot complain about that aspect of the controls at all. 

Besides, the "non-momentum" movement scheme is already in the game.  There's not much point in ripping it out, even if not all that many players will use it.  The whole point is to make sure that there's something for everybody, so nobody feels like they got shafted on the controls.  That's NEVER fun and always frustrating when a game does that.  I see it WAY too often.

Sticking it onto specific ships isnt a bad idea, but that *will* basically chop up the ship list for a great many players; I suspect most players wont actually want to use both types of movement.  So if there's 16 ships, and half have one movement type and the other half have the other, for most players, it'll be like there's actually only 8 types.  Which could be irritating if one of the types you cant use properly has the stats/weapon/whatever setup you think would fit you.  But yeah, it's not a bad idea.  Maybe there's a way to compromise that somehow in such a way that it doesnt REALLY restrict the list for either side. 

Offline nas1m

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2015, 10:51:15 AM »
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2015, 12:40:08 PM »
Misery, I have to strongly disagree with you here. Having multiple control options is a recipe for... mediocrity. These kinds of games are first and foremost about the feel of the controls and the movement. You can't split it up and give people all these different options, because then the core of the game is lost.

And as much as these games are about mechanics, they have to be loyal to the narrative. This has been a constant Arcen sore spot -- they come up with a narrative, then they come up with mechanics, and then the mechanics keep evolving but the narrative mostly stays the same, and the mechanics don't really fit the original narrative anymore. The mechanics are shoehorned in, and require heavy exposition just to explain the basics, and they're not a clean fit. You can see it in title after title.

If the narrative is about a ship in some... bigger ship. (Which is still just so weird and unnatural sounding to me, and again requires a ton of exposition just to explain the basic premise), then you're piloting a ship. It has to feel like a ship. It can't move like a robot on the ground. People just won't accept it, and will discard the game before even giving it a chance. The feel has to be right. It just has to. I don't think I can stress this enough. And that doesn't have to mean momentum btw: it could just be a matter of playing with the bob animations and such, the way Descent does.

And once you get the feel right, the challenges have to match what you can do with those movement parameters. If that means that you can't dodge as well, so be it -- the shmup parts need to be made compatible with the limitations of the movement. It should actually be seen as a benefit, because the limitations make the gameplay different and more interesting.

I also have trouble with you dismissing things because they're in Nuclear Throne. Say what you want, Nuclear Throne is a brilliant design. I'm sure part of it was pure luck and stumbling on the right things, but it's really really good. The feel of the characters is incredible, and the whole game just meshes together really well. You can criticize specific aspects of it, but I don't think any game designer worth his salt would say that it's a bad design. Arcen would be very lucky to have a Nuclear Throne on their hands. Not that I'm saying they aren't capable of it by any means, but to have everything in the design come together so well is just very tough.

The same applies to the Binding of Isaac design. I personally feel like Edmund messed up quite a few parts of Rebirth, but the basic design (carried over from the flash games) is solid and works really well. The art is inspired, the enemies are great, and the constantly increasing powers are cool. This is why the game has lasted this long and people are still interested in it.

Offline dfinlay

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2015, 12:43:10 PM »
If you're still looking for testers, I'm interested, though I'm not 100% certain how much time I'll have. I sent an email to this effect.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2015, 12:54:24 PM »
The idea of a probe/robot/ship/drone spacemarine invading another ship to steal parts isn't unreasonable. What would its movement style be? I don't know. I can imagine stable/good anti-grav/repeller technology to produce the movement we see in game. On the other hand, most space physics is complete fantasy, e.g., star wars, wing commander, star trek...

So... dunno.
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Offline tombik

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Re: Next alpha build (and more alpha players) late tomorrow (11/20).
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2015, 01:07:35 PM »
I also have trouble with you dismissing things because they're in Nuclear Throne.

This will sound like an ad hominem, and it is.

Misery played Nuclear Throne for 250 hours. :)